How To Attract New Customers and Boost Sales Growth!
As a Senior Consultant / Founder, I'm often approached by organizations to engage a conversation about how to attract new customers and boost sales growth through lead generation. Let's face it, current statistics for B2B marketing and lead generation show that anywhere between 8.6–10.0% of B2B revenue is spent on getting B2B leads into business sales funnels.
According to www.statista.com, the US spent $ 1.95 Billion on lead generation advertising in 2017 alone; and, according to www.hubspot.com "53% of marketers say half or more of their budget is allocated to lead generation, while 34% say less than half of their budget is allocated to lead generation. (BrightTALK, 2015)". Let's face it, lead generation and B2B marketing methods are a proven way to get customers knocking on your door and engaging your brand.
What if we approached the question from a reverse thinking process and asked - Why do we need lead generation marketing strategies? Why aren't our current customers referring their friends, peers and colleagues? What would happen if our service, product or brand was so valuable and loved that everyone who engaged us became brand champions? As a startup advisor, one of the key instructions we find common in accelerator and incubator programs is the premise that a company must build a product users or customers want and it is not good enough to be liked - you have to build a brand that makes users or customers love you so much that they keep coming back and they passionately refer all of their friends, peers and colleagues! When this formula is truly delivered big ideas become big companies.
Don't get me wrong, lead generation and B2B marketing strategies are valid forms of driving new or potential clients into a sales funnel. But, nothing is more impacting as a current customer handing you a referral and endorsing your work, service or brand. The customer that loves you becomes the marketer you have always wanted!
What would happen if we re-allocated some of our marketing budgets to fund better and more robust customer engagement solutions that promoted and developed loyalty relationship building platforms? Would the results prove a more passionate following of brand fanatics that truly fill the sales funnel for us? I think so!
Five strategies to build a brand everyone loves!
1. Engage the customer to help build your brand. Conversations lead to insights, insights lead to innovations, innovations lead to increasing the customer experience and the circle perpetuates. When was the last time you engaged your customers and asked them what they want, how they want it and how your experience compares to what they want. Engaging customers to help provide insight for your brand can significantly help you build strategies and innovations that resonate leading to enhanced experiences that promote brand loyalty. Nothing is greater than a happy customer. Loyal customers will help you, communicate with you and champion your causes. Engage!
2. Promote a referral process that rewards customer referrals. When a customer loves you so much that they refer a friend, peer or colleague they want to hear "Thank You!" How are you saying thank you to those who are feeding your sales funnel? Everyone likes a delight and surprise. Let's face it, who doesn't like getting something unexpected and rewarding. Do something that rewards, delights and surprises your customer as a way of expressing your gratitude for their referral. Let every referring customer know just how much you appreciate and value their loyalty as a brand champion.
3. Create special moments and WOW experiences! Be unique and celebrate your customers. Knock their socks off with a wow they cannot forget and will most likely go tell everyone. One of the best examples, for me, is my experience at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago a few years ago. I was absolutely amazed how the housekeeper knew my name and how cordial, inviting and truly serving the concierge services were during my stay. I was attending a conference with a group of healthcare colleagues and we were invited to "go behind the scenes" at the Ritz to learn how they do what they do. Every system and communication strategy was built around delivering WOW experiences to the hotel guest. They didn't build sales funnels - they built relationship building tools to serve, delight and surprise their guest with unforgettable experiences. How are you building unforgettable experiences for you customers as they interact with your brand?
4. Be the Voice and not the echo! Quit comparing yourself to your competition because most of the time those organizations who do find themselves always being behind. It is one thing to know what the competition is doing and another to try to be like them. Chart the course and be the voice! How do you unlock your voice? Not by echoing another brand! You unlock your voice by speaking with your customers, learning what motivates them and learning how to articulate a dialogue that only you and they can appreciate. It is knowing how to talk, listen, engage and lead the path into the depths of loyalty with a resonating tone. It is the art of resonance. Echoing sounds never reach these levels of emotional and human connection. Substance is upon the sound of a voice, resonance never follows the harmonies of an echo. We always remember the lead singer long before we can recall who is the backup. Be the VOICE!
5. Empower your customers as they participate in your brand! Here's a real thought. Why not conduct a customer survey and award your greatest brand champion with a product or service named after them or in their honor? Be creative and empowering about how you engage your customers and demonstrate your appreciation and gratitude. Maybe write a customer feature blog every month telling their story and letting them express their "love for the brand". Put your focus clearly on the customer and empowering their voice to provide insight, direction and focus for your brand. I'm certain amazing results will follow!
I must admit I get a little fanatical and passionate about this topic. Why? Because nothing excites me more than to see a customer smile or experience a moment where their eyes light up and their whole heart engages a brand. I love making people happy. Seeing people smile. Connecting in meaningful conversations that inspire, empower or ignite hope and meaning in the life of another person. Life can be brutal and everyday there is enough negativity and challenges that most people really need that moment where a little light meets them in time interrupting the mundane and unleashing the hope that "it's gonna be better!"
It's time to attract new customers the right way - creating exceptional experiences that ignite brand champions who love us so much that they refer their friends, family, peers and colleagues. If we do these things our funnels will be full!
(C) Copyright 2018 - The Osborn Group, LLC - All rights reserved. Sharing is permitted and appreciated.
About the Author - Timothy G. Osborn is the Senior Consultant/Founder at The Osborn Group, LLC where "We build top talented teams to enhance and create next level solutions for efficient business operations, learning & development, human resources, content marketing, engagement, brand development, talent acquisition,startup mentoring services, feasibility studies, and management consulting."
"Expect exceptional experiences every time!"